Honorable D. Joseph Kilgore
Chancery Judge Post 1
P.O. Box 1006
Honorable Kiley Kirk
Chancery Judge Post 2
P.O. Box 387
Chancery Court Cases Include:
- Domestic and family matters: divorce, child custody, property division, adoptions, alimony
- Estates of descendants
- Land issues (titles, contracts)
- Commitments of mentally disabled
- Equity appeals from County Court
Responsibilities of the Chancery Court
The Chancery Court has always been the separate court of equity (as distinguished from the law court circuit) in Mississippi, and the Chancellor generally hears cases without a jury. Juries are permitted only in paternity cases and will contests. An advisory jury is permitted in any case, but as the jury’s decision is advisory only and not binding on the Chancellor, this use of a jury seems of little or no use. Advisory juries are rarely utilized but all litigants have the right to request the same.
The Chancery Court handles equity cases involving domestic and family matters such as divorce, child custody and support, property division, adoptions, and all related issues. Additionally, the Chancery Court handles and processes the estates of decedents (with or without a Last Will and Testament) and all issues involving minors. This court handles a wide variety of other matters, including issues concerning title to land, contracts, injunctive matters, and commitments of persons impaired through mental disability and/or chemical-substance-alcohol abuse.
In the 63 counties having no Family or County Court, the Chancery Court either hears all youth court proceedings or appoints a Youth Court Referee (Judge) to do so. The Chancery Court is a court of record and its appeals are to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Robert T. (Bo) Bailey
10th Circuit Court District Judge
P.O. Box 1262
Charles W. Wright, Jr.
10th Circuit Court District Judge
P. O. Box 1261
Circuit Court cases Include:
- Civil actions over $75,000
- Bastardy, felonies
- Civil action and criminal appeals from County Court
Mississippi has 22 Circuit Court Districts with 49 judges presiding therein. Districts, created by the legislature and/or the federal courts, vary considerably as to size, population, and configuration. The Circuit Court tries felony criminal cases (as well as misdemeanors on appeal) and civil actions involving issues of $2,500 and above. Appeals from the Circuit Courts are to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Juries are widely used in the Circuit Court, with a unanimous vote of 12 required for a criminal conviction, but only 9 of 12 required for a decision in a civil proceeding. The Circuit Court with all its attendant costs is generally the most expensive court in a county, but its work is too important to be compromised or sacrificed, and its work must be supported at an efficient and operable level. While it is valuable to continually study the courts and seek improvement therein, it is noted that the alternative to no courts is not acceptable in a civilized society.
Linda Sciple Wright
P.O. Box 661
DeKalb, MS, 39328
Justice Court Judges are elected officials serving 4-year terms. To qualify to serve as a Justice Judge the candidate must meet the following requirements:
- High school diploma is mandated
- Justice Court Training Course provided by the Mississippi Judicial College of the University of Mississippi Law Center
- Annual continuing education requirements prescribed by the Judicial College
- Resident of County at least 2 years prior to serving it
- Hold at least one session of court per month, but not more than two.
Responsibilities of the Justice Court:
Kemper County Justice Court has jurisdiction over all actions for the recovery of debts or damages as well as personal property, up to $2,500. Clients file affidavits in Justice Court to recover property to settle debts, or to seek relief from disputes over family matters or issues involving neighbors and others.
Additionally, Justice Court handles fines resulting from citations by the Mississippi Highway Patrol and Fish and Wildlife Department officers. It holds court for citizens who protest such citations. It also holds court to settle criminal violations occurring outside the municipalities but within the county and performs marriage ceremonies. It issues process papers, subpoenas, and warrants requiring an appearance in court on a specified date.
Justice Court works cooperatively with the Public Service Commissioner and received monies resulting from periodic vehicle inspection roadblocks.
The officers of the court consist of a Justice Court Clerk, or Court Administrator, 12 deputy clerks, a bailiff, and four judges. Process papers, subpoenas, and warrants are served by Constables who are elected officials.
A 1984 statute by the Mississippi Legislature requiring a competent number of justice court judges in each county eliminated the Justice of the Peace System and established the present Justice Court System.